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Dear readers, partners, friends, (and frenemies, we’re all in this together) of BYT and Exactly,

What a week (month? decade?) it has been!

I am not usually prone to the whole “a message from our founder” trend, because I always felt that our company, as a whole, does an amazing job at communicating what we are all about: joy, humor, curiosity, empathy and, of course, community. We built this entire ship on community: the human need to be with each other, communicate with each other, support each other.

And community, when times are uncertain, is more important than ever.

In the last week, a lot of you (a lot of us!) have felt more alone than ever. Events have been canceled, public and personal. Chances to see people on a daily basis (at work, in social settings) have been seemingly taken away overnight. Plus, a lot of you (and a lot of us!) are grappling with not only the health implications, but also the very real and very immediate economic repercussions of COVID-19. As a result, everything feels almost surreal.

I, obviously, don’t have a solution. I do know I miss hugging people and touching my face and having other things to talk about that have nothing to do with crisis management.

BYT, like everyone else, is doing the best we can to ‘flatten the curve‘ and keep you informed and entertained: We are working from home, and while the BYT March events are postponed indefinitely, the editorial team has been doing an amazing job writing about hygiene, productivity, ways-to-spend-your-time and more. If you find yourself at a loss for what to read or do, may we point you in the direction of our Dream Jobs or Giving Back columns, filled with daily affirmations that the human race is actually made up of good people with good ideas, or our Staying In section where our streaming guides and book things live.

But, beyond just link sharing, I wanted to write you this note because I come from a (somewhat) unique place of perspective that provides me with (a slightly higher) sense of calm and focuses on the big picture.

You see, I grew up in a permanent crisis zone (also known as “Former Yugoslavia in the 1990s”). As a result, I’ve experienced closed borders, empty grocery stores, air strikes, terrible economic inflation, power and water outages, cancellations and curfews of all kinds, etc. For years. And years.

At the end of it all, I made it. I made it to a place where I own a business that is all about joy and community, that rewards you with quality ways to spend your time because you deserve to live a good, purposeful, and happy life. This business, this source of joy, has survived and thrived over the last decade, and I have to hope it will continue to do so, even if the last few days may imply otherwise.

You know how I made it to this life I truly love? Because my parents, to whom I owe my self-made everything, always kept their priorities straight:

  • Stay connected to those who bring you strength and love you
  • Be calm
  • Be kind
  • Be systematic in how you approach a problem
  • Don’t try to control what you can’t control
  • Don’t despair

And this works in any kind of crisis situation. I promise. We test drove this for a decade (in war times, and independent business times).

Panic is the enemy. We all have the ability to wash our hands, follow instructions (you know this city is filled with great test takers), control how and when we gather, get flu shots and seek help for ourselves and those close to us when needed, but if panic takes over, that is when the trouble truly begins. Buying all the soap at CVS doesn’t automatically make you not get coronavirus, it only makes someone else that can’t buy it be at a higher risk because they now don’t have access to proper hygiene products.

So please:

  • Stay connected to those who bring you strength and love you
  • Be calm
  • Be kind
  • Be systematic in how you approach a problem
  • Don’t try to control what you can’t control
  • Don’t despair

Plus:

  • Meditate (Headspace saved my life more times than once), communicate, reach out and call your friends (but wipe your phone), read something transportive, support small, local businesses (like ours! like yours!) that need it more than most (or stay informed on resources available to your small business at a time like this), get creative, make plans for the future…

In short:

Stay safe (and sane) out there

In the meantime, if you need us – we are here. We’re producing content, dreaming up ideas, making plans and figuring things out. If you have story ideas or stories to share, email [email protected] and [email protected]. If you need ME, I am always at [email protected].

We can’t wait to see you at the other end of the rainbow.

xoxo,

Svetlana Legetic and ALL of the BYT and Exactly team!

SUPPORT BYT:

BYT makes our living off of things that are currently non-existent as a source of income (arts, events, arts and event advertising). If you’d like to support the work we do, click here. Every little helps right now. Thank you.

Hey, we had to close out with a GIF. We’re only human, after all.

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